Sunday, December 21, 2008

One Single Impression -- A Winter's Day

Today is the beginning of winter, the winter solstice, shortest, darkest day of the year in the northern Hemisphere. This evening at sunset is also the beginning of Chanukah, the Jewish festival of lights.
"The lights of Chanukah are a symbol of our joy, in time of darkness, our ancestors had the courage to struggle for freedom: freedom to be themselves, freedom to worship in their own way. Theirs was a victory of the weak over the strong, the few over the many, and the righteous over the arrogant. It was a victory for all ages and all peoples." (Gates of Prayer: The New Union Prayerbook, Central Conference of American Rabbis)

against winter’s dark-
Baruch ata Adonai
-we light the first light

shehecheyanu-
light of triumph, light of life
-vekiyemanu

vehigianu-
in the cold, a sacred light,
-lazeman hazeh.

***

against the winter’s dark-
Blessed art thou, oh Lord
-we light the first light

who has given us life-
light of triumph, light of life,
-and has sustained us

and enabled us-
in the cold, a sacred light
-to reach this season.


Photo of first night Chanukah menorah from Wikipedia

For more poems on the theme "A Winter's Day" see One Single Impression.

16 comments:

utopianfragments said...

happy Chanuka,
nice to read about it and remember.
beautiful to celebrate the light and to see that all over the world all religouns share the same. the christians have the Avent, the Hindus the Diwali and jews Chanuka (not always at the same time - due to diffrent calenders).

spacedlaw said...

I like that tradition, it seems so much more in phase with the realities of the season. Happy hanuka.

anthonynorth said...

The light is so important this time of year. Beautiful words.

Deborah Godin said...

Beautiful words and story of such a important connection between the ceremony and the light!

Leatherdykeuk said...

Fascinating entry. Thank you.

Geraldine said...

What a lovely interpretation of this prompt Sue. Interesting reading throughout. Happy Holidays!

www.mypoeticpath.wordpress.com

SandyCarlson said...

Oh, my goodness, that is just gorgeous! The joy, the celebration, and the light come through. The Hebrew and the English bring the story and tradition right into the moment for all of us. Thanks.

Raven said...

Happy Chanukah! This was just beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing the poetry and beauty of this ritual... and in haiku, no less. Well done.

Growing up, my best friend was the Rabbi's daughter. I was their token Christian (Rabbi Krantzler was a very funny man) at various events and at one time I knew the Friday night blessing of the candles by heart. I always found the melody of the words to be exceptionally beautiful.

Joyce said...

These beautiful stanzas help me feel more connected with God's people. Thank you.

Jeeves said...

Thanks for the piece of information. Very nice post.

Pam said...

What a beautiful prayer, thank you for sharing this. I remember celebrating Chanukah at a friend's house when my children were little. The focus on the strength of light is just what the world needs right now.

Quiet Paths said...

This is a very beautiful reminder of so many fundamentals of the season. Thank you. I am drawn to the holy words seeking light....

Tumblewords: said...

This is a lovely and reflective read...thank you!

qualcosa di bello said...

thank you for sharing the beauty of this. i take great joy every night in lighting the candle for vespers...there is something so very holy in this action & your words capture that so fully

Jim said...

Thank you Beth. Your verses with verse interpretations are very nice. Happy Chanukah!
Mrs. Jim and I spent a week in 1980 in Israel for a wonderful eye openning. Our tour did spend more time with the Christian historical haunts but we could read between the lines for the modern and ancient Jewish heritage. Most of us had studied both.
Again, here is wishing your holidays be 'bright.'
..
My poem isn't religious, it might should have been. I've been in a terrible crunch and still am. I hope to have something for this Sunday.
..

zoya gautam said...

..Happy Chanukah!..
..many thanks for a lovely post..